Venezuela seeks to block hydro power stations in Essequibo

Last Updated on Sunday, 14 June 2015, 13:34 by GxMedia

Brazil’s plans to build hydropower stations in Guyana have apparently have hit a brick-wall as a result of Venezuela’s objections, according to Foreign Minister Carl Greenidge.

Greenidge told the National Assembly that those efforts by its Spanish-speaking neighbour have been “rejected.”  “Those approaches and that insistence have been roundly rejected,” Greenidge said in a statement on the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy.

Brazil has offered to build hydro power stations in the Upper and Middle Mazaruni areas with 3,000 and 1,500 megawatts capacity respectively.

The Foreign Minister said Venezuela sought to leverage influence in the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) to pressure Brazil into abandoning its plans to build hydropower stations.

“The Government of Venezuela, also a member of UNASUR, formally objected to this development and requested both the Brazilian Government and the Brazilian firm undertaking the feasibility studies to desist from carrying out any action in what the Venezuelan Government described as being ‘unquestionably Venezuelan territory’,” the minister told the House.

At that time, only the 33 representatives of the governing A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) coalition were in the House because the main opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) has so far refused to sit in the law-making body over concerns that the May 11, 2015 general and regional elections were rigged.

The PPP subsequently issued a statement expressing concern about Venezuela’s Decree 1787 that seeks to unilaterally shift that country’s maritime boundary to take in all the waters off the Essequibo Coast.  If Venezuela gets its way, its new maritime boundary would take in an area where American oil-giant, Exxon Mobil, last month found a “significant” deposit of high quality crude oil.

The proposed construction of the hydro power plant was, according to Greenidge, in keeping with  initiatives already agreed to within UNASUR. He added that  Guyana and Brazil began a programme that involved, among other things, the examination of hydropower development in parts of the Essequibo region.

In relation to development initiatives in Essequibo, he said a similar sentiment was communicated to Guyana. “Venezuela insisted that its consent was required before any significant action could take place on Guyana’s territory!”

Guyana says it will be asking the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to take steps to have the border controversy with Venezuela settled judicially in accordance with the United Nations Charter and the Geneva Agreement of 1966.